There are many reasons to focus on shoulder exercises. Perhaps you have recently injured your shoulder and wish to regain strength. This is actually quite common, since the shoulder is used in so many sports and is also a unique joint, being as the ball is so large for the shallow socket. Perhaps someone you know just sustained such an injury and you want to prevent that from happening to you. Both men and women also like to strengthen their shoulders because toned shoulders are seen as extremely appealing. Whatever your reason, shoulder muscle strength training is something that should be approached with care.
You'll want to start out with a gentle challenge, then build to a more difficult challenge slowly, focusing on the goal that your exercise program does not stress the shoulder too much. Always listen to your body. Stop any exercise that feels too strenuous or causes you to lose proper form.
The following are shoulder strength training exercises you may find useful:
Sit on a chair with your feet resting comfortably on the ground and your back straight. Hold light weights on each hand (if recovering from an injury, do not use weights at first). Turn the weights so your palms are facing forward. Slowly raise your arms until your hands are shoulder-height. Hold as you count to four. Slowly lower arms to starting position. Repeat exercise. This is an exercise best done with light weights for many repetitions, as it is easy to tear the rotator cuff if heavy weights are used.
Now place the weights on the floor and lean forward until your chest is resting on your knees. Reach down and grasp the weights. Slowly lift the weights with your palms facing down until your arms are again parallel with your shoulders. Hold for a count of four, then return to starting position. Repeat exercise.
Now place the weights back on the floor and sit up straight. You will want to select heavier weights for this last exercise. Take a weight in each hand, bend your elbows, and lift the weights, keeping your back straight, until both weights are at ear level on either side of your head. Lift the weights above your head like a dumbbell lift. Hold the pose for a count of four, then return weights to ear level. Repeat this lift until you reach muscles failure. Rest, then repeat for another set.
Always make sure you rest between sets, and do not overdo strength training at first. Build slowly to avoid injury.
With the advances in weight-lifting technology, the choice between free weights and weight machines comes down to a matter of comfort, preference and safety.